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OSHA Regional News Brief
Region 1

Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.



Oct. 6, 2015BOS 2015-189


Falling boxes of patio furniture at Massachusetts Big Lots store strike
employee, causing hospitalization

Discount retailer faces $66K in OSHA fines for recurring hazards

Employer name: Big Lots Stores Inc.

Inspection site: 10 Newbury St., Danvers, Mass. 01923

What prompted inspection: An assistant manager was hospitalized after boxes of patio furniture and other stock, weighing up to 53 pounds each, fell and struck him in the store's rear stockroom.

Investigation findings: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that numerous boxes of stock were stacked high and in an unstable condition throughout the storeroom. In addition, the storeroom's aisles were clogged by boxes of stock, broken wooden pallets, plastic wrap, packing materials and pieces of cardboard. These conditions exposed employees to fractures, broken bones, concussion, sprains and other injuries as well as to being trapped or unable to exit the storeroom swiftly in the event of a fire.

Citations issued: OSHA cited Big Lots Stores Inc. for two repeated violations on Oct. 2, 2015. It had cited the company in 2014 for similar hazards at its West Babylon, New York, and Warner Robins, Georgia, locations. Big Lots Stores Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Proposed penalties: $66,000

Quote: "Every workplace-including a retail store-has potential hazards. Unsafely stacked stock resulted in serious and avoidable injuries for this Big Lots employee. For the safety and well-being of all its employees, Big Lots must promptly and effectively address these hazards at all its locations to prevent future injuries," said Anthony Covello, OSHA's acting area director in Andover.

Link to citations:

To ask questions; obtain compliance assistance; file a complaint; or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Andover Area Office at 978- 837-4460.

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Media Contact:

Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075,

Release Number: 15-1969-BOS

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